Blog Title: The Girl Who Ate Everything
About: Christy Denney has been blogging family friendly recipes since 2008 at The Girl Who Ate Everything. She grew up in Mesa, Arizona and is the youngest of ten kids. She has her degree in Computer Science which has helped her on the backend of her website. She has five kids ranging from ages 6-15 and lives in sunny Florida. She wrote her first cookbook in 2014 and has worked with companies like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Disney, and Old El Paso.
Notes from Episode #100: Deep Dive into a Successful Blogger’s Journey
Fun fact: Christy has a really good memory for places, names and things. She can remember the first and last names of her Kindergarten class still! She can remember birthdays and family members of people she hasn’t seen in years.
Christy is the youngest of 10 kids. Her mom gave her the gift of telling her she could do whatever she wanted in life. Christy didn’t know what her role in life would be though. She knew she liked cooking but didn’t know if it would turn into anything.
In 2008 her sister died suddenly from a blood clot in her lungs. Christy returned home and was trying to cope and grieve with her family then when she had to return home, she was grieving apart from her family.
To cope with that, Christy baked a pie that was a family recipe and began sharing her story online through blogging and baking. She found it very therapeutic and helpful so she continued.
Christy had a blog for 2 years before she began to monetize it. Then she began to write a couple recipes a month for Tablespoon.
Christy was invited to do videos with General Mills and Betty Crocker. Christy was so excited! Mark Burnett was the producer of the videos. She went there and got her hair done and then, she botched it. She was so upset and realized that video wasn’t her thing.
The relationship with General Mills has been great over the years and was worth investing in.
Pinterest started the same year that Christy had a baby. She remembers scrolling through and it actually ended because there wasn’t endless content at that time.
In 2013 Christy attended a Blogher food blogging conference in Texas. It was her first conference and first meeting with other bloggers in person! Her sister in law attended with her and they roomed with a couple of other bloggers from Ambitious Kitchen and Oh Sweet Basil. Christy had never met them before arriving so she took a leap in attending but it went well.
Making those connections made everyone more real and she was willing to pin and share other bloggers material on social media. It was great to have connections with other businesses/people because she’d met them in person.
In 2014 Christy published her first cookbook. She’d been offered book deals in the past but had declined. Finally she accept and it was a huge undertaking but she got it done.
Looking back Christy has mixed emotions about her cookbook. She wished she’d had more time to work on the book. They gave her 6 months but Christy was pregnant with her 5th child and had 5 kids under the age of 8 to care for. She had had some food aversions due to her pregnancy so that complicated it as well. It was also football season and her husband was gone all the time so she couldn’t lean on him.
Christy had not experienced postpartum with her first four children but with her final child she realized her recovery was different and how she felt was different. So committing to such a big undertaking was more complicated.
Making a cookbook isn’t for the money for sure but it is a good experience.
Content – Christy gets bored and likes new stuff all the time to add to her blog. But she has gotten feedback to focus on updating old content after getting advice from Casey Markee.
Christy did a mini audit with Casey and she was impressed that he found stuff that she couldn’t find even though she has a computer science background.
She had major no no’s for Google on her site and other content slowing down her site as well. Casey taught her a better way to do SEO. She had the audit done in April 2019 and since then her organic search traffic has been up like 230%.
Resilience is so important in blogging. Sometimes you just have to be willing to learn new things, things that take you out of your current skill set and build on them. You have to be willing to learn something new things so you can do them going forward for yourself.
You don’t have to do everything. Just because its what other bloggers are doing, if you don’t feel good about it in your gut, don’t do it.
On the other hand, sometimes you have to play the game to survive. Christy struggled with the sharing of other people’s content – why would someone come to her to be shown others content? She did it because she found that it did help, but parts of it were sucking her soul. At that time, she decided some things were going to be given to a VA and she would focus on other projects.
Christy got hacked on Facebook a few years ago; someone began posting inappropriate content. She lost control for a week and a half and it was frustrating she couldn’t stop it. Finally someone from a Facebook group Christy was a part of was able to connect her to someone that got the issue resolved with Facebook. The situation seemed it was the end of the world but you do bounce back!
You can’t turn a blind eye to trends but you don’t have to do all of them.
Different diets, appliances and videos are some of the trends we have gone through. Do what works for your brand and audience but don’t just jump on the wagon if it doesn’t make sense.
Keep in mind what your people want. For Christy, a lot of her audience doesn’t need all these trends. She figures this out by interacting with them and asking questions.
Advice to new bloggers –
Success is abundant, it’s not finite. Everyone has a chance to be successful.
Be persistent, showing up everyday and working on your craft. You have to find ways to improve, teaching yourself new things.
Think to yourself, why are you doing it? What’s your why for blogging? Define what success is to you. It’ll look different for each person but figure that out for yourself and work towards it.
Bloggers tend to start a blog and then don’t see instant success in just a few months so give up. Christy said don’t give up!
Daily Schedule – Find times during the day that work for you to do the work that needs to be done. Are you a morning person, night person? Do you need to be available to people at a certain time? Can you work a split shift and do computer work one part of the day? Build your schedule around that. The benefit of this job is that you have that flexibility.
Christy has 1300 recipes on her site. She has deleted or redirected some recipes to her best content and she’s continuing to finesse the older posts.
Christy’s advice: Christy enjoys listening to Brene Brown and she says that, “Perspective is the function of experience”. What that means to Christy is when new things come out, you might think you have to do it or something breaks and wrecks your traffic, you need the mindset that you can take it in stride and it’s a blip in the scheme of things based on your experience, but you will get through it.